Swimming at an international level is not just about personal opportunity for Amanda Lowry - it's also about being a trailblazer for future para-athletes.

Lowry has returned home to Tauranga after competing in the 2018 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Cairns last week where she not only took to the pool in her first international swimming meet, but she also clocked up two personal bests.

She travelled to Australia with the New Zealand Para-Swimming Team to compete in the event, and it was not only a first for Lowry but a first for the New Zealand team.

There has never been anyone with Lowry's level of impairment swim for the side, ever.

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With the support of her coach Mike Lee and High Performance Sport New Zealand, Lowry says everyone is figuring things out as they go along.

"There has never been anyone like me so it's about seeing what is possible," she says.

The mum-of-two has been training hard in the past six months and is looking forward to becoming internationally classified in February next year, then working towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

"It's about creating pathways for anyone else coming along after me," she says.

At her first international competition last week, Lowry swam in the 50m backstroke and the 100m freestyle, knocking six seconds off her previous personal best in the freestyle event.

"It was quite surreal," she says.

"I'm around these incredible athletes, I just feel so lucky."

But it's not luck that has got Lowry to where she is today, it's determination and hours of training.

Para swimmer Amanda Lowry clocked two personal bests in the 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle. Photo / John Borren
Para swimmer Amanda Lowry clocked two personal bests in the 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle. Photo / John Borren

She says her training has ramped up to five days a week in the pool where she has felt herself become faster.

Lowry says despite everything still being new with her swimming, she has noticed more sensation in her belly and back.

She says she's going to continue to build on her skills in the pool and "smash" her February event.

"I want people to see me and think 'I can bloody do that too'."